Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Friday is the deadline for former-President Donald Trump to turn over documents as part of a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The documents in question refers to assorted electronic messages, call logs, photos and videos — even hand-written notes — from as far back as September 2020.
It’s unclear whether Trump will abide by the committee’s subpoena, issued on Oct. 21 after its most recent hearing, but Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said they have been speaking with Trump’s lawyers. During a televised forum at Cleveland State University Tuesday, Cheney told PBS journalist Judy Woodruff that the former president is obligated to comply.
“This is not a situation where the committee is going to put itself at the mercy of Donald Trump in terms of his efforts to create a circus,” Cheney said.
When asked if she thought the former president would abide by the subpoena and testify before the committee, Cheney said it’s a bit of a toss-up. “He has a legal obligation to testify, but that doesn’t always carry weight with Donald Trump,” she said.
That being said, there is a strong chance the former president will not produce the documents by the end of the day. The committee has been lenient when it comes to deadlines in the past, at least when there’s ongoing communication with a subject’s legal team.
According to the letter and subpoena, the committee is asking for an extensive array of records and documents: records of phone calls, text messages, encrypted messages (such as Signal), photos, videos, electronic and hand-written notes, summaries and memoranda of conversation.
The committee’s subpoena lists the detailed documents it’s seeking from specific timelines, many of which are on or around Jan. 6, 2021, as well as specific groups and individuals with whom the correspondence may have taken place.
One set of records the panel is after involves communications with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, both designated as far-right extremist groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The committee has ordered Trump turn over conversations that may have taken place between himself and either group from September 2020 to the present.
Other high-profile people found in the committee’s order include Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Jeffrey Clark, John Eastman, Rudolph Giuliani and more.
It’s unclear, at least for now, whether the committee will make a criminal referral to the Justice Department should Trump choose not to cooperate. When asked about what action the panel would likely take, Cheney said she didn’t want to put the cart before the horse.
“The committee has been working in a very collaborative way and I would anticipate we won’t have disagreements about that,” she said. “But we’ll have to make those decisions as we come to it.”
On the same day that the House committee ordered Trump to turn over the documents and testify, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols sentenced Steve Bannon, Trump’s political advisor, to four months in prison for criminal contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a different committee subpoena.